M4A4 vs. M4A1-S - Which One To Choose?

October 5th, 2023
M4A4 vs. M4A1-S - Which One To Choose?
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If you ever find yourself lost while trying to choose between the M4A4 or M4A1-S, two of the most popular rifles on the CT side in Counter-Strike 2, then don’t worry, you’re not alone. The question of whether to choose the M4A4 or M4A1-S is as old as the competitive shooter itself, and players can often find one to be better than the other depending on their play style. However, is it just a matter of personal preference and self-satisfaction, or is there something more to it than that? We look for the answers as we take a look at the detailed statistics of both weapons and see if one can be conclusively termed better than the other.

In-Depth Comparison Of The M4A4 & M4A1-S

Both the M4A4 and M4A1-S have their ups and downs, but what you need to find out is whether the ups of either weapon outshine its downs. Here are the key factors you need to consider while deciding whether you should go for the M4A4 or M4A1-S as a CT in CS2:

Magazine Size

The M4A4 can hold as many as 30 bullets in its magazine, which is 50% more than that of the M4A1-S, which only has a capacity of 20 rounds per magazine. This makes the M4A4 a better choice for players who like to wall-bang common spots or spray down a smoke hoping for a lucky pickoff. However, the lack of a silencer can easily give out your precise position when you decide to spray through a smoke, so keep that in mind.

If you have good trigger discipline and decent aim, the decreased bullet count of the M4A1-S shouldn’t be bothering you as much.

Spray Control

Being good at spray control is one of the most important skills to pick up while playing CS2, and here’s where the M4A1-S outshines its non-silenced counterpart to an extent. The spray of M4A1-S is much easier to control and can land you some easy kills at any distance once you master it. The spray pattern of the M4A4 is rather complex and while it’s still easier to master than the AK-47 spray control, the M4A1-S might still be your go-to option if you aren’t well-versed with the M4A4 spray pattern.

Price

A gun’s price greatly dictates whether you’ll pick it up or not when your team is tight on the economy. Pricier weapons like the AWP tend to deal more damage and can easily secure rounds when played properly, but are often not affordable on the majority of rounds, while cheaper weapons like Nova or the MP9 are almost always affordable, but extremely situational.

The price tag on the M4A1-S is $2,900 in comparison to the M4A4’s $3,100. This might not be a huge difference, but in a tactical shooter like CS2 where economy management is extremely important, this $200 can stack up through the rounds, and can make the M4A1-S a desirable choice over the M4A4.

Fire Rate

The weapon firing rate is the primary selling point of the M4A4. The M4A4 can fire bullets at a whopping 666 rounds per minute, while the M4A1-S lags behind at only 600 rounds per minute. This gives the M4A4 users a significant edge over the M4A1-S players, and if the bullets land accurately, an M4A4 player will be able to execute a headshot + bodyshot combo faster than someone wielding an M4A1-S.

Damage

Both the M4A4 and M4A1-S deal similar damage at all distances, but there’s still a difference to take into consideration when trying to decide which gun to use. Currently, both the M4A4 and M4A1-S do 92 damage on a headshot to an armored opponent at medium distance, but if you hit other parts of the enemy’s body, the numbers are slightly different.

For example, on armored opponents, the M4A4 does 23, 28, and 24 points of damage upon landing shots on the chest, stomach, and legs respectively while the M4A1-S does 26, 33, and 28 damage in those areas. The increased damage of the M4A1-S might seem good in theory but is still not enough for it to compensate for its lack of fire rate when taking a mid-range duel against the M4A4.

Other Factors

Other factors that generally determine what weapon you’re going to use like armor penetration, running/walking speed, and accuracy range are the same for both the M4A4 and the M4A1-S.

M4A4 Skins vs. M4A1-S Skins

Let’s take a few minutes to reflect on the best skins that each weapon has to offer, and more importantly - which skins are lighter on your pocket. While CS2 veterans are no strangers to the Howl, which is often regarded as one of the best M4A4 skins, the price tag on it is way too high for most CS2 players to be able to afford. This is why we’re only considering skins that are not only gorgeous but are also affordable for any casual player. Since the new loadout system of CS2 allows you to equip both rifles, we bring you one for each rifle:

M4A4 Skin - Neo Noir

The M4A4 Neo Noir is perhaps one of the best M4A4 skins out there, and its Field-Tested variant comes at a pocket pinch of only a few bucks. Combine that with the USP-S Neo Noir and AWP Neo Noir, and your teammates will be jealous of your skin collection.

M4A4 | Neo-Noir (Field-Tested)
M4A4 | Neo-Noir (Field-Tested)
Starting at
$4.54
-35%

M4A1-S Skin - Decimator

While the M4A1-S Printstream might be a delight to your eyes, its price tag of over $400 on the Factory New variant will be quite a dent on your pocket. This is why going for a cheaper alternative like the Decimator might be a smart move to make. The Source 2 engine really brings out its true potential, making its bright and shiny exterior stand out more than most other M4A1-S skins. Its price currently hovering around $20 makes it affordable for most CS2 players.

M4A1-S | Decimator (Minimal Wear)
M4A1-S | Decimator (Minimal Wear)
Starting at
$15.35
-32%

Conclusion: Which Weapon To Use?

In the current meta, the M4A1-S seems to be the more popular choice in the professional scene due to its spray accuracy and reduced price, with around 60% of the players using it over the M4A4. However, if you’re planning to solo-queue on competitive, the M4A4 might be a much better option for you due to the increased fire rate and magazine capacity.

Then again, if you like to play the role of IGL or support, you might want to save the $200 by buying the M4A1-S and use the extra money to buy a flashbang or other utilities to help your team.

The positions that you like to play as a Counter-Terrorist also heavily impact which gun should you choose. For instance, if you like to hold close or medium angles, the M4A4 can easily give you the upper hand. If you like to take long-range fights, the reduced recoil combined with the simpler spray pattern of the M4A1-S can land you some easy kills. This is even more applicable when solo-queuing in CS2. Some aspects of the match or team-mates will also dictate which gun to go to. If your teammates are comfortable holding B site, and you are more likely to play A site either from Jungle, Connector, or Ticket Booth taking on long-range engagements, the M4A1-S would be the ideal choice.

Thanks to the new loadout system introduced in CS2, you are no longer confined to equipping only one of these rifles. Now, you can include both in the loadout and as explained in the article, use the one which would give you optimal results depending on the dynamic situation of the match. Both guns have their own advantages and will suit some situations better than others.

The meta in CS2 is constantly shifting based on the updates that Valve implements to the title. So don’t be surprised if the developers ship out a patch buffing or nerfing either of the two weapons in the near future.

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